Are definitive selections too odd?
When we think of some things, and various combinations of them, it seems clear that all those combinatorial possibilities are there already, awaiting our consideration. And yet I am asking you to imagine that when a Creator, some such brilliant mind, considers some things, all those possibilities are blurred together (although none so blurry that it cannot be picked out); or am I?
I am suggesting that for selections of selections of ... of selections, from some original collections, each possible selection from those will be a particular possibility only as it is actually selected by our Creator, independently of whom no collections of things would exist, were there such a Creator (as there provably is). The possible selections that make S(N) bigger than N (to use the terminology in my Cantorian diagonal argument) are those endless sequences of ‘I’s and ‘O’s that are pseudorandom; to make them, infinitely many selections have to be made, each one of which involves some arbitrarily large finite number of selections. They might be made instantaneously by our Creator, of course; and if so, then typical selections from S(N) could be made arbitrarily quickly.
What about S(S(N)), which contains more things than infinite space contains points? Well, a Creator might be able to do all of that instantaneously. And similarly for selections from U, and UU, and maybe UUU; but still, you see how our Creator would have to do much more, and much, much more, and so on and so forth, without end. It is therefore quite plausible that for selection-collections that it would take me far more than mere trillions of pages to describe, our Creator would be unable or unwilling (and thence unable) to make all such selections instantaneously. After all, it is logically impossible for all possible selections to be made instantaneously. To will an incremental development of such abstract mathematics, as a necessary aspect of the creation of any things, might be regarded as a price worth paying for some such creations. And it is also quite plausible that were the Creator unable to do something (even as a consequence of such a choice) then that thing really would be impossible, given that the very possibility of it derives from that Creator.
Solid things are solid; but mathematical properties related rather abstractly to their individuality can be works in progress; why not? Modern mathematics has a weirder story to tell of such matters! It is relatively straightforward to think of Creation as dependent upon a Creator who transcends even its mathematics. So, it may not be too odd to think of a Creator creating number by definitively adding units: 1, 2, 3 and so forth; is that any weirder than a Creator creating something ex nihilo? Number is paradoxical, so that the ultimate totalities of numbers are indefinitely extensible, and so numbers just do pop into existence, somehow; and what more reasonable way than by their being constructed by a Creator? What would be very weird indeed would be their popping into existence all by themselves, what with them being essentially structural possibilities rather than concrete things. It makes some sense to think of us creating them, as we think about the world around us, but there is something very objective about numbers of things. And again, if it makes sense for us to do it, then how can it be too odd to think of a Creator doing it, in a Platonistic way?
There will be better ways to think of definitive selection, I am sure; but, it is the case that such weaselly words are the norm nowadays. For example, how can simple brute matter (just atoms, in molecules of atoms, each just some electrons around a nucleus) have feelings, such sensitive feelings as we have? How is that possible? Am I asking for a description of a possible mechanism? Perhaps; but a common enough answer is: Well, it must be possible, because we have such feelings, in this physical universe; although I don't know how sensitive we humans really are, looking at our world! Such answers are accepted by many scientific people, as they "work" on possible mechanisms!
Summer cyber amusement - The precious bourgeois journalists at the NYT have linked to my blog many times over the years, but the Ronell story marks the first time, as I recall, tha...
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